How NASA's new Perseverance Mars rover compares with its '90s ancestor

Science
NASA is about to launch its brand new rover to Mars perseverance. But how exactly does the rover build in 2020 stack up against the first ever Mars rover from the 90s it's time to put these two machines head to head. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] After almost eight years in development, perseverance is set to take off in July 2020. And if everything goes to plan it'll touchdown in February 2021 becoming the most advanced robot we've ever sent to Mars. Perseverance builds on a lot of the key tech used in the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012. But it's also getting some kick **** upgrades. It has new landing technology so it can choose its landing site. It's carrying its own scouting helicopter and it also has new hardware to collect samples and store them in a cash on board. But how does perseverance stack up against this guy? This is sojourner the first ever rover to land on Mars as part of the Pathfinder mission in 1997. If this was a game of choose your fighter then perseverance is like a high tech car. And sojourner is more like a microwave. Literally Firstly perseverance is way bigger. It weighs in at just over one metric ton or 2200 pounds and measures roughly three by three meters or nine by 10 feet. Compare that with sojourner which was actually the size of the microwave weighing in at 11.5KG or 25 pounds. But it's not just about size. Perseverance is way smarter. It's got a 200 megahertz processor, 256 Meg's of DRAM and two gigs of flash storage. Not only that, it doesn't just have one internal computing system, it has to one of them stays asleep. So it's always got a backup brain. All that computing power helps the rover do some pretty cool stuff. It can measure its own temperature and power levels, as well as how much it's tilting on the surface of Mars. It can shoot pictures and video, record audio with its built in microphones and communicate back to Earth by sending signals via orbiters around Mars. And then there's the Mars helicopter ingenuity. It's hitching a ride to Mars underneath the perseverance rover, and it's set to perform a series of test flights in the Martian atmosphere. Compare all this with sojourner which. To sent up to Mars in the 90s. With little more than a two megahertz processor and 64 kilobytes of RAM. That's nothing. Not only that, but the CPU in this thing was the same one you'd find in this radio shack. Portable computer. That meant sojourner was kind of limited in what it could do. It had batteries, but they weren't rechargeable. So it had to rely on a solar array. And those solar cells could generate 16 watts of power in the middle of the day. Which meant that According to NASA, it was using about the same amount of power as an In light, it communicated with the Pathfinder lander using a radio modem, which means that kind of like an adorable toddler. If the rover strayed more than 10 meters away from the lander, Pathfinder couldn't see it anymore. Finally, let's look at the cameras When perseverance lands on Mars in 2021, it will be packed with 23 cameras. These will shoot full color video of its descent onto Mars and capture images of the landing parachute opening, which is a complete first. There are six hazard cameras, two navigation cameras and a brand new cash cam, which sounds like something from a game show but it's actually a new camera designed to capture pictures of rock samples. For its pod, so Jenna had a colour camera on the back and then two black and white cameras on the front, which we use to stitch together these really cool 90s 3D images. But let's not decision to too much. This was in 1997, when the height of technological cool was getting your hands on a Tamagotchi, and it was pretty good for its time. It was designed to last for seven Martian days or souls, but it actually lasted for 83. In that time it traveled more than 100 meters. It did chemical analysis on rocks, and it brought us back some really vital information about Mars. And most importantly, it won NASA's cool robot OF THE WEEK award in December 1996, which is 100%. a real thing and very cool. Also, sojourner was pretty cheap by NASA standards. The rover itself cost $25 million to build and the whole Pathfinder mission costs 265 million, or about 430 million dollars US in today's money. By comparison, NASA originally budgeted $1.5 billion for the Mars 2020 project, but now that figure is closer to $2.5 billion But we're also gonna see some great science come out of the Mars 2020 mission. The perseverance rover is gonna search for water below the Martian surface and try and create oxygen out of the Martian atmosphere, both of which are vital steps towards getting humans on Mars one day. We're also gonna see that little cache of samples, which is gonna be retrieved by a lighter mission, and, most importantly, the ingenuity Mars helicopter. This will be the first spacecraft, that will launch off another world, which is, an amazing feat. But for rover made in the 1990s, sojourner punches way above its way, it's pretty cool for a little microwave oven we sent to Mars. So what do you guys think? Do you think another Mars mission is awesome or should we be directing our eyes elsewhere in the solar system? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out our other space videos. We've got some great stuff for you to watch. All right, cheers, guys.

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